Faces of the AZ Tech Scene
What part of Arizona do you call home?
I’ve lived all over the metro Phoenix area – Chandler, Scottsdale, North Phoenix, Anthem – and I recently moved to the Arcadia area in Central Phoenix and love it.
What do you do?
I’m the CEO and cofounder of $99 Social. We provide social media content management to small businesses around the world. In a nutshell, we save small business owners a ton of time and hassle by finding and sharing one great post every single day to their Facebook page and Twitter profile for a single low price of $99/month. I spend my days working on strategy, marketing, product development, automation, and streamlining our processes so my entire team can do their part in making small business owners’ lives just a little bit easier.
How did you get started in the tech industry? What sparked an initial interest in tech?
I’m a lifelong entrepreneur and habitual problem-solver, so I’ve always been on the lookout for gaps and upcoming trends in various industries, though I didn’t always recognize that’s what I was doing. I started out as an entrepreneur almost 20 years ago – an accidental entrepreneur like so many of us – and after a crushing blow that resulted in having to shut down my thriving brick-and-mortar business in 2005, I thought, “There has to be a better way.” Isn’t that how most roads to success begin? I began looking for my next grand adventure, and landed on technology as a gateway to a whole world of possibility. I quickly fell in love with its ability to level the playing field and provide the same type of opportunity to leverage it for even the smallest of small businesses. I’m a huge proponent of the underdog winning the day, and technology makes that entirely possible.
How long have you lived or worked in Arizona? (If it’s been several years, what have you noticed about the growth of the tech industry here?)
It’s hard for me to believe, but I’ve lived in Arizona for 9 ½ years now. In that time, I’ve really seen the tech industry grow up in Phoenix. In addition to the numerous tech companies headquartered here, it seems everywhere I go I meet someone who has their hand in the industry in some way, shape, or form. It’s exciting to see this take shape in our great city.
If you could only describe your city with one word, which word would it be?
Possibility-rich (okay, that’s two words, but I hyphenated it – does that count?)
What’s your favorite thing about living in Arizona?
My favorite thing about living in Arizona is the diverse culture that exists all over the state. Every city, every neighborhood has its own unique vibe and distinct offerings. There’s a little bit of something for every interest, and as a Montana girl who grew up with limited access to diversity (don’t get me wrong – I love Montana!), it’s like a smorgasbord of new experiences.
What’s your least favorite thing about living in Arizona? (Aside from the heat.)
My least favorite thing about living in Arizona is driving in all this traffic! I’m all over the valley throughout the week, and wasting time in the car while stuck in traffic drives me crazy. However, a quick road trip to LA to experience their traffic nightmare always makes me feel just a little bit better about that.
What’s your favorite Breakfast spot?
My favorite breakfast spot on the weekends is Windsor in Central Phoenix. They have the BEST coffee, bacon that will make you drool, and a deliciously stocked Bloody Mary condiment bar. You’ll have to wait for a table, but it’s totally worth it.
What’s your favorite Lunch spot?
Postino’s on Central is my absolute favorite place for lunch! Their bruschetta is the best around (the green apple and brie with fig drizzle is to die for), and they have such a cool vibe. Add a glass of wine, and I’m in heaven.
What’s your favorite dinner spot?
There are so many amazing places to eat around the city, it’s tough to pick a favorite for dinner, but I’m going to have to go with Fleming’s on this one. Dry-aged steaks cooked to perfection, side dishes that are always phenomenal, and impeccable service… they aren’t local, but the food and service are so good it deserves to be at the top of my list. For a local place, I’d pick Oreganos Pizza Bistro. EVERYTHING is good, from their pizzas to their giant salads to their ooey gooey Pizza Cookies.
What’s your favorite place to work in your city (when your not in your office or home office) (coffee shop, coworking space, etc)?
Elevate Coffee Co in North Phoenix is my favorite place to work when I’m meeting with my team or when I need a break from my home office, and Lux on Central is my favorite place to work when I’m looking for a late night, caffeine-induced shot of creativity.
Best place for a meeting over drinks?
The Henry on Camelback is a perfect place for a meeting over drinks. It’s hip and upscale, has a great drink menu, and even an onsite coffee lounge. Plus it’s centrally located, so it’s a good halfway point when you’re coming from different ends of the valley.
What is something about living in Arizona that only a local would know of? (Or what is a common misconception about living in AZ?)
We DO have snow! Arizona may be in the desert, but just a short drive can lead to major fun skiing, snowboarding, sledding, and snow tubing.
Any tips for new Arizona residents?
Hop in your car and explore the state! There are some unique and breathtaking sights in some of the most unexpected places. My favorite (and most frequent) road trip is a day trip to Prescott for some hiking a Thumb Butte or Willow Lake, with a stop at Rock Springs Café – famous for their incredible pies – and Sunset Point on the way back.